Fairy tales have been around for thousands of years. According to the official site for researchers at Durham University, one such tale was even traced back all the way to the Bronze Age, 6500 years ago. Yet, we remain fascinated with them even now.
This anthology, 'Fairy Tales: The Sequel,' touches on some of the most familiar. From the stories of Rumplestiltskin to Cinderella and even Aladdin, the authors' work contained within this novel poses the question.. "what happened next?"
I have to tell you, excited as I was to begin this journey, I spent the first couple of tales.. nodding off. Both literally and figuratively. I even briefly considered shelving this one, which is nearly unheard of for me. In my life, I think I've quit two books. Total.
Fortunately, I persevered and found myself rewarded for my stubborn pursuit of something that might stand out.
'Aladdin and the Lantern' by Chuck R. Stieren, was the first light in the darkness for me. The main character is relatable, plagued with self-doubts, and driven to do better. The story itself is dark and gritty.. and had me leaning in with concern. Eager to get to the conclusion.
'Castle of Blood' by Frances Hight was another, and quite possibly my favorite in the book. Written as a sequel to a fairy tale that I'd somehow managed never to come across-- 'The Black Bull of the Castle of Blood,' it's full of all the gruesomeness I've come to know and love. Essentially this tale seems to be an Irish version of the French tale, 'Bluebeard,' though after doing some research.. I'm hard pressed to say which came first. Nonetheless, this sequel is a fantastic short story.
The final tale within the book worth discussing is 'Married by Magic,' by Bettie Nebergall. It's based on the aftermath of Cinderella's story and though there are worries and magic.. some of which feels a tiny bit contrived, it's definitely the heartwarming story of the collection. The way Cinderella and her Prince interact is lovely.. sweet.. and just as I think we'd hoped it would be. The darkness in their story isn't their doing and I was absolutely invested in the outcome.
These three stories alone, carry the book for me. The others are mediocre at best and a snoozefest at worst. But I'm glad I didn't let that stop me from finishing this read.. and now you know which ones to skip.